Tuesday, December 28, 2010

JBuds J3 Micro Atomic In-Ear Earphones with Travel Case for $9.95

If there's such a thing as earbuds for everyone's ears, I haven't found them yet, and I imagine they'd cost a fortune even if they existed. I cannot possibly speak to every possible psychoacoustic experience waiting to be had with these earbuds, so I won't even try. Let me instead tell you why these J2s stand out in my book.

JLabs is a solid and dependable name in the earbud market, and their low street prices and contrastingly satisfying soundscape is well documented already. The J3s are no exception, and compared to their more beefy J2 predecessor, these buds are light, tight, mean and clean. Rich, transparent capture of the 1KHz-2.5KHz range makes bowed strings shimmer, synth pads float, and affords an impressive resolution in the range of vocals. The "singed" overdriven character of Simon Le Bon's vocals on the song "All You Need Is Now" lept up in the mix, but melted away to glassy, open-air trebly cleanness for the later choruses. The J3's ability to respond quickly to subtle dynamics changes was a delightful surprise; pizzicato notes plucked neatly even in a swimmy sea of washing pads.

I hesitate to call the new approach to bass a "disappointment," but I admit, I'm fonder of the J2's more visceral rendering of the bass frequencies, especially from 200Hz-450Hz. The J3 buds offer a clean approach with amazing clarity in that range -- John Taylor's trademark bass sound was reproduced very articulately, with excellent nuance of finger pressure -- but for those familiar with the dripping warmth of the bass of an old tube receiver, this chilly, glassy clarity might be a bit too brittle and digital, especially as coupled with the iPhone, iPod, or a similarly fidelity-over-character DAC. Percussive bass seems to be boosted a bit, but melodic bass gets lost under the sizzles above 650Hz. EQ on the phone's end improved the warmth a bit, but sometimes you just don't want that level of ultra-resolution clarity; some music is best with a bit of ear-level added saturation.

Symphonic pieces, whether classical or progressive, love these earbuds. Busy passages, such as the frenzied crowd-shouting of the original "Hair" cast album or the thick layers of Mike Oldfield's soundscapes, come through with impressive voice-isolating clarity, and horns and guitars (clean and overdriven) sizzle into rich, high-fidelity life, and cymbals ring exquisitely, but while the percussive low bass is excellent, the melodic bass range has a character that some might find too understated.

The durability is impressive; though the buds look fragile, they're markedly more solid than other buds I've seen in their price range, and certainly a quantum leap ahead of the bundled iPod buds. The slender plug fits even narrow-clearance jacks on devices with cases, and the range of cushions provided should make most folks quite happy for ear comfort. The buds' light weight, secure fit and sturdiness leave me very confident about their use day to day, and again, their workmanship and sturdiness is very impressive.

There's no such thing as a "perfect" set of earbuds for all ears and all source material. Still, the J3s clean up the plate at their normal discount price point, if perhaps not as thoroughly at their MSRP. Bass lovers may prefer the J2 instead, at cost of slightly added bulk, but folks who don't mind a less boosted melodic bass range will likely find the J3 buds a no-brainer first pick for happy private listening.

I haven't really seen a clear step up from the J3's sound quality until the price is quadrupled or quintupled, and that's rather telling, isn't it?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Amazon - The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

I'm pretty OCD about exercise and fitness... and business so I love Tim's insights and experimentations because he is a whole other world of OCD - and he's brilliant with it!

Sex, exercise, eating - definitely in the top 5 most important things in life (in my opinion). The only thing not covered is business and thats in his other book the Four Hour Work Week, which is AWESOME!

I think there is a lot to be learned from this book. As he rightly states/admits it's not all his own first hand experience, some of it is, a lot of it he has found experts and drawn conclusions from their work based on his own self experimentation - Brilliant! Thanks for doing the hard work!

Like any book like this (and as Tim states) you should pick and choose the bits most relevant to you.

It's a raw, OCD take on the human body - thank you for publishing this. Finally a book that acknowledges medicine though goes with what's actually going on. I highly recommend you buy this book even if you only learn one thing from it, it will be worth it.

Time to stop being fat and ignorant and take control and responsibility for your life!

Get a copy now

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monster Turbine High-Performance In-Ear Speakers

I have had many sets of earbuds over the years, and these are by far the best that I have owned. They come with many different ear tips, so take some time and try the different ones, makes a big difference. I like these earbuds for working in the yard (snow blowing right now) and commuting on the train. With my other ones, I had to turn the volume up so high to cover up the background noise, that I thought I was causing harm to my ears.

With these, I only have to set the volume between 6-8, instead of 30. They really block out the background noises. They are metal, not plastic like most. The only thing I would change is the plug, it is straight, and I would prefer a 90 degree one. I have an adaptor so that is not a super big problem, just an inconvenience. I would recommend these, and the price is a great deal.

Monster Turbine High-Performance In-Ear Speakers

Monday, December 20, 2010

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

I found this book to be a concise and excellent read. Entertaining and enlightening at the same time. I highly recommend reading this book to get things like diet and exercise boiled down and condensed to what works and what matters. Its unfortunate how many educated people are still teaching wives-tales based on the junk science of the past. I am in the process of going back through the book, taking notes and applying what I have learned.

I found the book to confirm some things I personally thought or suspected and other things I already knew. But it is loaded with things I did not know, have not heard of or have not been exposed to. I also like the encouragement to do self-experiment (in a reasonable manner) to fine tune and tweak what works for you. I am amused and impressed with Tim's ability to think outside the box, crunch data, deconstruct, and boil things down to get the 20% (application) that gives you 80% (results).

I was surprised that more ground wasn't covered in some areas, and that some "rabbit holes" weren't explored deeper. I guess that could leave things open for another book like it or an expanded edition in the future. I was reading this book like a madman as much and as fast as I could. I give it two thumbs up. I'm looking forward to a new me in the near future.

Friday, December 17, 2010

EVGA GeForce GTX460 768MB DDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card 768-P3-1360-TR

EVGA GeForce GTX460 768MB DDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card 768-P3-1360-TR - Completed my first PC build a couple weeks ago and installed this card in my rig. Install was easy, initially installed drivers on accompanying disc and then updated to latest driver on nvidia's website, 260.99 version I think.

It plays Devil May Cry 4 perfectly at 1920x1080 with max settings and vsync on and frame rate never stutters. It plays Dirt 2 all maxed at 1920x1080 but I have to overclock card (used evga precision to overclock) to achieve 56-60 fps with vsync on, overclocked to 820 clock, 1640 shader and 1050 memory. It plays GTA EFLC perfectly playable but can't max out the game. Still looks way better than xbox and ps3 versions however.

I have detail at high, shadows at medium (night shadows off), anistropic 4x, no AA in the game, I have vyncd FPS always at 55. My rig specs i5 760 overclocked to 3.66Ghz, Corsair 1600MHz 4GB memory, Asus P7P55D-E Pro motherboard and Windows 7 Home premium (system builder version). Will probably get another 460 GTX soon and should be set for the forseeable future.

See the full specification here

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Redemption in Indigo Author Karen Lord's Top Ten Books Read in 2010

Last month, Karen Lord's marvelous novel Redemption in Indigo made Amazon's Top 10 Best SF/Fantasy for the year, coming in at #3. Along with the other writers who made the list, she's been invited to provide her own list of her favorite reads in 2010. (For these lists, the authors can list either books published in 2010 and enjoyed or just read in 2010 and published earlier, or a mix.) Here's Karen Lord's list, with short intro. Some great gift suggestions here!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops - $47

The title of my review is a recurring theme. In everything I find wrong with this game, it's always because Treyarch went for a wow-factor, but didn't sweat the small things. To be honest, I think it's that they didn't get enough previewing/game testing (or didn't listen to the advice they DID get).

Story (Singleplayer):
The story was great. It was a great idea, I think (It's hard to tell cause the ending was spoiled for me.), but that was not the issue. The issue was all in Treyarch's delivery.
They didn't get me to absorb their material. I didn't feel involved. In successful games and movies, I feel welcome and the creators make the journey seem like a fun roller coaster ride (after waiting in line and without feeling sick). Black Ops felt more like doing homework. The point of the game is to confuse you at points, but where they weren't supposed to, I felt confused. I was watching my character and another screaming at each other and I had no idea why. I felt left out, and that made me stop playing the campaign for a while.
Treyarch had the great structure for a moving tale, but didn't present it well. Maybe they didn't pass it by enough people to see how loosely the presentation involved the players.

Singleplayer Gameplay:
My teammates are useless. That's probably the only thing I didn't like in terms of singleplayer gameplay. In one specific example, three of us run up some stairs into a room. My buddies went in before me, and didn't kill the enemy in the room. I assume there's no one there then, and since visibility is rather low in this level, I don't see him myself. Then of course I die. It's frustrating when you can't trust your teammates; it begins to seem like you, alone, are fighting all the baddies.

Multiplayer Gameplay:
Treyarch included many cool weapons, like a ballistic knife or flamethrower attachment. The maps, I found, didn't catch my fancy. I suppose I just didn't like how few spots I could find to snipe from. There are small ones like Nuketown and larger ones like Array, and the playing style changes for what type of match you play (Team Deathmatch vs Search & Destroy).
What I found aggravating was the respawning issues. I found myself dying and spawning a turn around a corner away, just in time for the enemy to get a few rounds through my skull. Also, I found that players (allies and enemies) would spawn behind the enemy lines, where our foes were still occupying the space. It was very puzzling and certainly annoying. When it was ME spawning behind them, I sure got a few good kills, but I didn't really like that fact that I got an edge on them in such a way. Here is a video I found that illustrates what I mean: [...] (he doesn't really start addressing spawning until 5:30)

Connection (Multiplayer):
I found this part to be the worst for me, maybe because it has affected me the most times. First, I'm not certain how or why, but it seems I'm getting the game data a second later than others. Many many countless times, I have run to cover and been out of sight, but still gotten shot, and as I watch the killcam, realize why. It is because others are ahead by a second and in their gamestate, I'm still visible and very vulnerable. This type of situation has occurred countless times, and I understand that it can't be like real life, where everyone is synchronized, but I thought the difference would've been insignificant.

The fact that I play this game on a PS3 may have an effect on this point, but very often, I try to join a match and sometime before entering the game (anytime in between immediately after joining the lobby or until the match and map finally load), I get a notice telling me that I've been "Disconnected due to transmission error" I realized it occuring mostly when I try to join a team deathmatch. Just right now, I wanted to get the wording right for the quote above, so I joined once and got disconnected. Handy isn't it?

All around, I think Treyarch put in a lot of good effort to make this game a success, but in the end, didn't look enough into things rather simply solved with some good player testing. Maybe they were rushed by the release date.

Watch the short trailer here

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Understanding pass by value and pass by reference - Python style

Continuing with the Python theme -

If you're a developer, please click here to see how you can make money helping others.

One of the guys on our Python discussion list wanted to know the difference between pass-by-value and pass-by-reference. Seeing how this same question has been asked a few time previously, I thought I would try and make a blog entry to give a simple explanation to demonstrate how it works.

Some languages use pass-by-value, but Python on the other hand uses pass-by-reference. What is the difference you ask?

Well pass by value is exactly what it sounds like - you pass the value (a copy of everything in the memory). This is bad when you're passing a 10,000 item list to a function - because you now have *two* 10,000 item lists. It's even worse when you have many times that amount of data.

Python, OTOH passes by reference - instead of copying the list, a pointer to the list is passed, so when you see something like this:

def do_something(a_list):
a_list[2] = 4

mylist = [1,2,3,4]

now mylist is: [1,2,4,4].

In call-by-value, the value of the arguments are copied into the function. There is no way to modify variables outside of the function since you don't have access to them, only to copies. C uses this, among many others:

int a = 5
void func(int b) { b = 6; }

a == 5; /* evaluates to true, variable outside function scope remains unchanged */

The value b, inside the function, contains a copy of a. So when it is
modified, the original a remains unchanged.

Many people call python pass-by-reference, even though this is technically incorrect. The difference comes from the semantics of variables and values. In languages such as C, a variable is an area of memory that contains something. An assignment then, copies the value on the right into the variable (memory) on the left.

There are lots of materials and books that cover object-oriented programming in Python comprehensively. But the one that I have personally used and always recommend is this nicely written title:


Have your own thoughts on how to explain the difference between the two? We would like to hear them in the comment below.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Using Python's imp Module

There are a few modules I have not used in Python before. One of those modules is the imp - this module has been available since...well, forever in Python. But for some reason, I only recently came across it on  one of the open source projects I'm contributing to.

I had a little need to temporarily change my system path, this would have required tweaking the system import path. As it turned out, I would use the imp module which has the mechanisms for loading modules in a package dynamically just as I needed. The cool thing is that it helps most especially when the name of the module concerned isn't known.

Finding Modules:

The first step to loading a module is finding. The find_module() function scans the import search path looking for a package or module with the given name. It returns an open file handle (if appropriate for the type), filename where the module was found, and “description” (a tuple such as those returned by get_suffixes()).

import imp
from imp_get_suffixes import module_types

print 'Package:'
f, filename, description = imp.find_module('example')
print module_types[description[2]], filename

print 'Sub-module:'
f, filename, description = imp.find_module('submodule', ['./example'])
print module_types[description[2]], filename
if f: f.close()
You can learn more about Python's imp module and how to use it and many
more great modules by going to the Python Algorithms here. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Amazon: Instant Savings on Select LG HDTVs - $200

If you have been following this blog and others, you will have noticed that Amazon.com has been doing a massive product clearance for the whole of this week. They call it Cyber Week - meaning that prices on most of their products have been slashed.

One of those products going very fast is this selection of LG HDTVs. If you buy now, you will save upto $290 (depends on which one you buy). and scroll down for all the TVs and offers.

Hurry now before they all run out - remember they are going very fast. The indication on the site should give you an idea of how fast they're going.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Spring Persistence with Hibernate brings People to My Blog

In the last couple of days over 745 searches for Spring Persistence with Hibernate came through Google to this blog. It is nice to see that there's still huge Java interested in the community, something a lot of folks have been arguing that it is dying.

If you didn't see the post that was bringing in the traffic, I suggest you have a look here.

Today, I sat down at the office and decided to have a go at the second half of the book. You should buy a copy if you are serious about software development - especially Hibernate and Spring. It has everything you'll need and more. I also recently finished a copy of Paul Barry's Head First Python. I miss languages and technologies because my work requires that I use multiple languages. Every developer should in fact, learn more than a few programming languages. See Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages

Beside that, I also checked out a set of these Etymotic Research ER6i Isolator In-Ear Earphones as they are on sale and going very quickly. At $72 each, I couldn't let the opportunity pass. I bought one over 2 years ago, but wanted another one because I truly loved the sound output and noise isolation that they provide. The headphone is great if you're working at your computer and don't want to hear any chatter going on across from you.
Those were the things that kept me occupied through out the week. In the mean time, I will post an update with full review of the Spring Persistence with Hibernate once I'm done reading it. Again, I highly recommend you get a copy of that book.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Amazon: Etymotic Research ER6i Isolator In-Ear Earphones $72.24

For a limited period only, amazon is doing a wonderful deal on this Etymotic Research ER6i Isolator In-Ear Earphones for $72.24 (List $99.99) . It comes with all the accessories you could ever ask for.

You can view the deal here: Amazon Etymotic Research ER6i Isolator In-Ear Earphones

Monday, November 29, 2010

Head First Python by Paul Barry

Ever wished you could learn Python from a book? Head First Python is a complete learning experience for Python that helps you learn the language through a unique method that goes beyond syntax and how-to manuals, helping you understand how to be a great Python programmer.

You'll quickly learn the language's fundamentals, then move onto persistence, exception handling, web development, SQLite, data wrangling, and Google App Engine. You'll also learn how to write mobile apps for Android, all thanks to the power that Python gives you.

We think your time is too valuable to waste struggling with new concepts. Using the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory to craft a multi-sensory learning experience, Head First Python uses a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works, not a text-heavy approach that puts you to sleep.

Click here to buy

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Passion for Design by Barbra Streisand

A successful woman with oodles of money and time creates her own world to live in, down to the last bud on the last flower. Not since Joan Crawford published her advice books 40 years ago have we had a book written by someone so out of touch with the "real" world.

My Passion for Design is indeed stuffed with colorful photos and spreads to illustrate her gardens, rooms, closets, etc.; passages of comments from the author pop up throughout. Does she know what she talks about? Yes. Names, dates, and searches for what she wants are ponderously detailed. The issue is that only 0.02% of people can use this information. Can I whip out my checkbook and spend millions on chickens to lay green eggs? Or hire gardeners to come over and debate the nature of the color red for the perfect rose? In this economy, few people outside her fanbase of rabid fans are likely to buy this book.

One wonders if she makes her husband maintain his white hair so as not to clash with the decor. . . .

What could have saved the book from the cutout bin? Tone down the author's search for the perfect doorknob (hip readers will get my AbFab reference) and instead feature sections on "here is what you can do to spruce up your home and gardens with a limited budget. If I can do it, so can you with my help!" That way the average reader could relate to her and her book.

Ultimately, this is a handsome-looking book about. . . nothing at all.

I won't buy this book

Latest Nintendo Wii Hardware Bundle

I just order a red Nintendo Wii Hardware Bundle for my sister and it just took two day to get to my house.I opened and was amazed on how nice this console looks I played the new super mario game for a little bit and its so fun I didn't wanted to put it away Also i like it so much I had to order a second one I'm a game pro and i give this game 5 stars and the console

I recommend everyone to purchase from Amazon.com itself because they are so good on any defects or issues that the item could have that they will send a label for return but to return its hily not likely Amazon number 1

See the game here

Friday, November 26, 2010

How I messed up the week playing games

I can't believe how fast this week just flew by... I still haven't finished all the things I planned on doing. I recently bought a copy of Seven Languages in Seven Weeks and wanted to start reading it. Even if there's still time for that, what bothers me is not being able to stick to my scheduled takes.

Beside the book, I also wanted to join a few of the programmes as discussed on the 5 Guaranteed Ways For a Developer to Make Money This Christmas . If you have not seen it yet, now's the time to go check it out. It essentially shows you what you need to make some residual income as a software developer. I have only managed to join the hub party - and already have 2 post to my name.

Another thing that has been keeping from finishing my side project is the Call of Duty: Black Ops. I recently joined facebook and with a great facebook set up by call of duty fans, I have been playing in a multiplayer mode. Meaning that I spend most nights with other core players well into the wee hours of the morning. This game is terribly addictive. If you want to get something done, please take my advice and do not play this game on empty stomach and pile of tasks waiting on your to-do list.

Spring Persistence with Hibernate

Persistence is an important set of techniques and technologies for accessing and transacting data, and ensuring that data is mobile regardless of specific applications and contexts. In Java development, persistence is a key factor in enterprise, e-commerce, and other transaction-oriented applications.

Today, the Spring Framework is the leading out-of-the-box solution for enterprise Java developers; in it, you can find a number of Java Persistence solutions.

Spring Persistence with Hibernate gets you rolling with fundamental Spring Framework 3 concepts and integrating persistence functionality into enterprise Java applications using Hibernate, the Java™ Persistence API (JPA) 2, and the Grails Object Relational Mapping tool, GORM.
  • Covers core Hibernate fundamentals, demonstrating how the framework can be best utilized within a Spring application context
  • Covers how to use and integrate JPA 2, found in the new Java EE 6 platform
  • Covers how to integrate and use the new Grails persistence engine, GORM

What you’ll learn

  • How to use Spring Persistence, including using persistence tools in Spring as well as choosing the best Java Persistence frameworks/tools outside of Spring
  • How to work with Spring Framework features such as Inversion of Control (IoC), aspect-oriented programming (AOP), and more
  • How to work with Spring JDBC, use declarative transactions with Spring, and reap the benefits of a lightweight persistence strategy
  • How to work with Hibernate and integrate it into your Spring-based enterprise Java applications for transactions, data processing, and more
  • How to integrate with legacy databases, as well as use best practices for developing web services and handling Hibernate proxies and lazy collections
  • How to the integrate the Spring/Hibernate persistence tier with RIA technologies like Ajax and Flash
  • How to integrate JPA for architecting a well-layered persistence tier in your enterprise Java application
  • How to move a persistence tier into JPA
  • How to use and integrate the Grails persistence framework, GORM, and how to leverage it within a standard Java Spring MVC application

Who is this book for?

Spring Persistence with Hibernate is ideal for developers interested in learning more about persistence framework options on the Java platform, as well as fundamental Spring concepts. Because the book covers several persistence frameworks, it is suitable for anyone interested in learning more about Spring or any of the frameworks covered. Lastly, Spring Persistence with Hibernate book covers advanced topics related to persistence architecture and design patterns, and is ideal for beginning developers looking to learn more in these areas.

                            You should buy a copy NOW!

I just joined Facebook to Play Call of Duty: Black Ops

I didn't think I would in a million years join Facebook. Even after joining last week, I still don't like the idea of publishing and uploading every little thing I do on that site for all my friends and old school mates to see what I'm up to.

What made me sign up was how easy it was to find groups of other hardcore Call of Duty: Black Ops players. If you haven't played Call of Duty: Black Ops in a multiplayer mode, I would recommend you get someone to play with. There are people out there on the internet who are always online playing, but the majority of them are on Facebook groups.

If Call of Duty: Black Ops is not your thing, then check out World Of Warcraft as well. It's another multiplayer game with a huge community behind it. This is one of the biggest games on the internet with 100s of millions of monthly players. The community is HUGE...but the latest release of Call of Duty is the daddy right now.

I'm still getting to know my way around, until then I will just stick to the game and no uploading of pictures and other nonsense.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops racks up sales record

Call of Duty: Black Ops generated more than $360m (£223m) on the first day it was on sale, publisher Activision says.

In the UK, first day sales of £58m made it the all-formats record holder, says research firm Gfk/Chart-Track.

In the US and UK the game is thought to have sold more than 5.6 million copies, of which 1.4 million were bought by British gamers.

The previous record holder for first day sales was the Black Ops predecessor Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Independent figures for US sales are not yet available but UK figures suggest Black Ops smashed the sales record set by its forerunner.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sold 1.23 million units in the UK on its first day in November 2009, says Gfk, but Black Ops racked up 14% more. Revenues generated by sales of Black Ops were 22% higher.

Publisher Activision said it expected Black Ops to beat the $550m (£340m) in revenue generated by Modern Warfare 2 in its first five days on sale.

The majority of sales were for the Xbox 360 version of the game, figures showed.

On the first day of release Josh Olin, community manager for Black Ops' creator Treyarch, said more than one million people were online playing the Xbox version at the same time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Decision Points by George W. Bush

This fascinating account of the life and crimes of former US President George W. Bush in Decision Points, is a riveting insight into one of the world's greatest criminal minds and mass murderers. Having remained silent for two years following his ousting as President, Bush now lifts the lid on the Whitehouse Murders and an array of other criminal activities that have blighted his past.

From his own admission as "the costliest mistake I have ever made" relating to his decision to not admit a 1976 conviction for a drink driving offence when running for the Whitehouse, to his friendship with fellow killer Tony Blair, whom Bush once alarmingly likened to Churchill, it's all here, the lies, the deceit, the condoning of water-boarding torture methods on Iraqi prisoners, the illegal invasion of foreign lands and the massacre of innocents in what has to be the cornerstone of any library dealing with True Crime.

The best read since "The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare"... but it's not recommended as bedside reading when alone in the house. A truly chilling book!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure

I don't know if the mid-term election earlier this week has anything to do with with Glenn Beck's books shooting to the top of most bestseller lists.

This morning, my kindle app just alerted me that his latest work - Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure; has made it back to the top for the second time. If you are a regular visitor, you will have noticed that I blogged about this book awhile back. Even then, it was on the way down. So, I'm surprised to see how things have seemed to change yet again.

So, what does this mean for him? From the sales figures on Amazon.com, one can get an clear idea of how many of his books and DVDs have been sold in the last couple of days.

To give you an idea, here's last month sales figure , and here's the latest figures - you judge the difference.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Programming Google App Engine: Build and Run Scalable Web Apps on Google's Infrastructure

As someone who has been working with Java for the best part of 7 years, I recently took up Python programming. So, in a effort to drive that learning further, I have ventured in Google App engine with Python. What better way to get to know how it works than to get a good reference book and work from there!

I had been working with various online tutorials on programming google app engine, but none of them actually focused on good quality examples and working samples to set you up on writing your own with little difficulty.

So, if like me you too have been piecing together different materials, now is the time to get a book like the Programming Google App Engine: Build and Run Scalable Web Apps on Google's Infrastructure which not only shows you how to use Python on Google App, but also includes Java sample apps for those who use Java as well. Now that's cool because it will appeal to both camps.

To give you an idea of how cool this book is, have a look at the Amazon.com review to see what comments other readers have left.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to search for Cheap Van Hire

One of the few things that gets me angry is when companies advertise one thing but charges you something else. This was exactly what happened this last weekend from one of the local Van Hire companies around my area. A quick online search pulled up several van hire operators, which I narrowed down to a few that looked promising.

I decided on one and booked with my credit card. The service was supposed to cover insurance, the van itself, fuel and man - (van and man). I booked it for two days, meaning that it should be delivered to my door first thing Saturday morning and returned Monday morning. As it turned out, things didn't go according to plan.

First, the driver arrived late well into the mid-morning on Saturday with the van. Not only was he late, the van was not clean...you could see that it needed cleaning before you. I gently suggested that they should have brought a cleaner van, which he rudely replied that if I didn't want the van I should let him know. Of course, I should have turned down the van hire, but I had to move out to my new house that weekend, so I was not prepared to waste any more time.

The problem did not end there. One of my treasured paintings was torn and ripped from its frame. If this was any other painting, I would not have bothered in the slightest. But as it happened this was a painting that was passed down to me by my father. It has been in the family for over 90 years. So, you can understand how I felt that this van man did not think anything of it.

To make matters worse, my credit card was over charged for the van hire with tax and made to use their chosen insurance company, made to pay for full tank of fuel and late delivery charge. In all, I was not only ripped off, I lost a treasured painting, over charged and had a terrible experience. It later transpired that there was no company - it was the man himself who ran the business from his home. I initially thought of naming and shaming the company, but decided against it as I didn't want to give them any undue publicity.

So, my advice is to never rely on what these little dodgy  companies post on their website, ask around from friends, neighbours and even colleagues for any reputable Van hire service. Chances are they will have used one themselves and should be able to recommend one. And if possible, avoid van and man, and go for van only of you have someone to help with the heavy lifting.

Monday, October 25, 2010

wxPython in Action

This year I decided to take the plunge and try to learn how to program GUI interfaces. As I'd been learning Python for a couple of years on and off I looked at the available options - which seemed mainly to be just four - Tkinter, PyGTK, PyQt and of course wxPython.

I discounted Tkinter as it is frequently said to not be good enough for large programming projects, and PyQt because it isn't Open Source and briefly looking at the license details put me off straight away.

I then tried to find information on PyGTK and wxPython. PyGTK is probably a good option but doesn't have any books on the subject and the online documentation can be a bit confusing at times - its a pity that someone who knows PyGTK hasn't written a book on it yet !

Even though the wxPython book was written four years ago and therefore doesn't necessarily include full details of the current version (v2.8.11 at the time of writing) I decided to try the book. And I am very glad that I did - it turned out to be one of my best programming book purchases for some time. It is easy to follow (assuming that you know Python and object oriented programming) and has good examples for many if not most of the things which you are likely to want to use for GUI programmimg.

It has very good sections on creating Frames, text windows, menus, drawing to the Screen Device Context, Buffered Device Contexts where necessary to avoid constant redrawing of the screen, all the standard button and widget types, printing, many types of sizers to automatically arrange your widgets without having to know exactly where they all are on the screen, dialogs (I couldn't believe how easy it was to use the standard File Chooser dialog !) and a great chapter on keeping your code tidy - and after coding a few GUI programs I can see why :)

I have been a programmer for many years (COBOL mainly !) and all in all this book make learning GUI programming as easy as I could ever have imagined. I don't know if a new version of this book is planned but until then if you need to learn Python GUI programming then get this book ! After 2 to 3 months in your spare time & weekends you could be programming Python GUI's reasonably competently !

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Twelfth Imam - Joel C. Rosenberg

Reading "The Twelfth Imam", political thriller, is very plausible, it's like reading today's headlines especially with the tension between Iran and Israel and the United States.

This novel is set forth on two "what if" plots. The first is, what if the world drags their feet too long and Iran really acquires nuclear weapons?

And, what if the so-called Islamic messiah known as the Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg actually appears on earth? How would Iran respond? How would the Israel and the United State handle this?

This fits into Bible Prophecy as the antichrist beast of revelation 13, will probably claim to be the 12th Imam just like this novel... it is thought provoking!

This book should be a best seller and I highly recommend it to everyone! It is action packed that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Monday, October 18, 2010

KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays

When I bought this book there wasn't too many reviews and so I relied a little on the title to sway me 'How to Run an Online Business that pays and pays'. That was what I was after and so I was hooked.

Initially I was a little disappointed, not much, but a little hence the 4 stars. I say this only because I felt the book largely centres around blogging your passion, your expertise or what interests you. Many of the tools, techniques and advice that Joel Comm discusses tie back to making money from blogging. Sure you can make money from your online business via blogging, but I just felt it was a little too one dimensional, as Joel Comm didn't look too much past this (blogging). Some online businesses are not just about blogging! Having said that Joel does discuss affiliate marketing and ways to make money from your site via membership and coaching programs but again its geared around your knowledge and doesn't touch on other online business strategies for those who may be trying to make money online via other initiatives i.e. selling products.

That said this book is easy to read and isn't overly complicated. Joel Comm delivers by providing a number of models on how to make money, most of which are geared around Google AdSense. He does though delve into AdSense discussing the importance of ad layout and formatting.

At times I found I couldn't put this book down and was getting carried away with how I, someone who has never considered blogging, could maybe make a living from it. Joel Comm inspires you and makes you believe you can. I've never heard him talk, but he writes passionately, which I believe gives what he says credibility. If he believes it then I will too. Importantly he is a realist, advising making money from an online business takes time, effort in building networks and then more time. It doesn't happen overnight.

If you blog and want to make money from it, then I'm sure this book will help as many of the tips, tools and techniques suggested are clear and easy to understand. If you run an online business selling a product then I believe there are better books on internet marketing, searching engine marketing etc.

 Get a copy here >>

Sunday, October 17, 2010

worth the money when its on sale

I purchased this microSDHC Flash Memory Card to add more memory to my Archos 5 IMT 16gb. That great things about the Archos is that it integrates this SD Card, so it's like I have 32GB of memory, instead of 2 separate storage devices like most MP3 players with expansions bay have. Simply put, a great buy for what I needed it for.

I thought I would blog about it in case someone else wants to take the opportunity to quickly grab one whilst the sale lasts.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Book of Python: A Real-World Reference

The Book of Python is a complete reference to the Python programming language. It begins with a discussion of Python's programming environment (data types, packages, and modules), then moves on to more advanced topics, including object oriented programming, interacting with operating systems, creating GUIs and database interfaces, network programming, XML, and web programming.

Functions and modules are cross-referenced throughout and multiple examples illustrate how to use Python. The authors have extensive experience with large scale, mission critical Python applications-real world experience that forms an unusually solid foundation for a book of this sort.

The Ultimate: Fable III Limited Edition

Ascend to the throne and become Albion's next ruler in Fable III . "The Fable III Limited Edition Signature Series Guide" picks up the story of life in Albion over half a century after the events of Fable II. Your quest is to overthrow a megalomaniac sibling and save a continent on its knees. This limited edition guide tracks the decisions you make, determining the type of ruler you become. Exclusive quest guides and maps provide an unprecedented knowledge of the games dig spots, gnomes and secrets.

Included is a stand alone art section, with a limited edition dust cover and multiplayer tactics for co-op and competitive modes. Fable III and The Kingdom of Albion have never been explored in such detail, but how will you gain and control the wealth and power you crave?

Here's a trailer to get your tongue wagging!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Noise-Cancelling Earbud Headphones

My 'normal' headphones are earbuds and I like the loose fit. I was skeptical about getting noise-cancelling earbuds due to the 'tight' fit in the ear, but these Noise cancelling Headphones are DEFINELY worth it! Amazing the difference these make in noise reduction. Loud AC unit in my living room becomes 'silent'.

Took the headphones on a trip recently -- sitting at the airport gate, the headphones got rid of the din of noise yet let me hear the intercom messages. And once we were on the plane/in flight, greatly reduced the engine/air noises. Had one instance (in the airport) where I couldn't hear a gentleman talking to me when the headphones were on, but I can live with that!

Looking for Noise Cancelling Headphones, then check out this lot. There's definitely something there for every one.

Building Android Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

If you know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you already have the tools you need to develop Android applications. This hands-on book shows you how to use these open source web standards to design and build apps that can be adapted for any Android device -- without having to use Java.
You'll learn how to create an Android-friendly web app on the platform of your choice, and then convert it to a native Android app with the free PhoneGap framework. Discover why device-agnostic mobile apps are the wave of the future, and start building apps that offer greater flexibility and a broader reach.
  • Learn the basics for making a web page look great on the Android web browser
  • Convert a website into a web application, complete with progress indicators and more
  • Add animation with jQTouch to make your web app look and feel like a native Android app
  • Take advantage of client-side data storage with apps that run even when the Android device is offline
  • Use PhoneGap to hook into advanced Android features -- including the accelerometer, geolocation, and alerts
  • Test and debug your app on the Web under load with real users, and then submit the finished product to the Android Market
This book received valuable community input through O'Reilly's Open Feedback Publishing System (OFPS). Learn more at http://labs.oreilly.com/ofps.html.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

JBuds J3 Micro Atomic In-Ear Earphones with Travel Case for $9.95

I bought these as a replacement for my surprisingly durable apple ipod phones.

I have read reviews about a "trebly" sound. I did notice this when first listening. But read the directions! It says they sound better after playing for 24-48 hours; just leave your phones plugged in all day if you aren't using them during this period. I would say they really started sounding good after a little more playtime than this but not too much longer. And after using them for 6 months, I think they sound better than ever! Also keep in mind these are in-ear headphones. The lower frequencies depend on the whole phone vibrating in your ear, so don't be turned-off by the relatively small speaker mesh. The bass in these headphones seems pretty darn good.

Minus just one star for having the issue of banging on wires creating noise in the phones (although this is probably an issue with most in-ear phones of this type) and too short of a wire. This is not much of an issue with the J3s when sitting down. I have found that wrapping the wires around the ears almost eliminates the thud, but this makes the wire even shorter than it already is. I have not used the J3 much while exercising so I cannot give an opinion for this type of use.

I can say that the smooth wire coating on the J3s does a great job of eliminating any scratching noises, unlike fabric-coated wires.

At just $9.95 I think it's a steal!

The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero

Rick Riordan has not ceased to amaze me. Ever since I picked up a copy of THE LIGHTNING THIEF in 2008 and read the PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS straight through, I have loved everything Riordan has put out. From his Egyptian offshoot, THE KANE CHRONICLES, to even his entry in THE 39 CLUES, THE MAZE OF BONES, I am always shocked and in awe of his story-telling. And the first outing in the new HEROES OF OLYMPUS series, THE LOST HERO, is no exception.

I debated for quite a while as I read THE LOST HERO whether a new-comer to Riordan could pick up this book and just start in, and I came to the conclusion that if someone hasn't read anything by him, it would be best to go back to THE LIGHTNING THIEF and start there. Otherwise, THE LOST HERO would contain too many references to events and characters which wouldn't make sense to someone who hasn't read the books yet. So if you haven't finished Riordan's first series, PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS, I would say stop reading this review now and go back to THE LIGHTNING THIEF.

The story begins with a boy named Jason, who suddenly appears in a school bus in the middle of the desert sitting beside Piper and Leo, two classmates that he's supposedly been friends with for the past few months at Wilderness School. But Jason can't remember any of that. In fact, he can't even remember his own name or how he got there. I really don't want to say much more than that, because diving too deeply into the storyline will only ruin the experience.

Per usual, the story is action-packed, and coming in at a hefty 576 pages, THE LOST HERO, starts and doesn't slow down until the very last page. As I read, I couldn't help myself from gasping out loud. There was a new plot twist to almost every page I turned. At first, I kept wondering what on earth can Riordan do with the whole concept of Greek gods and mythology that he didn't accomplish in the first five books - and I will admit part of me was a bit afraid that THE LOST HERO was going to fizzle out and not live up to my favorite, THE LAST OLYMPIAN. But Riordan pulls out some unexpected ideas that meld seamlessly with the mythology he's crafted throughout the first series.

The book is told in third-person, which is a bit of a switch from either THE KANE CHRONICLES or PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS, which were both written first-person. THE LOST HERO switches off between Jason, Piper, and Leo, each getting two chapters and then switching to the next. This aids in the character development, which is stronger here than in other novels from Riordan. The things that Piper and especially Leo grow through in the book felt real and done in a way that made sense with the story. The author searched out a lot of the issues that face students today, including abandonment in its various forms. In a way, I think THE LOST HERO is one of his more serious books, and while there was definitely humor to lighten things up here and there, this one definitely came across as a much weightier story, for the characters and the plot.

While the story does center around Jason, Piper, and Leo, there are plenty of familiar faces around to tie things back to the first series. Cameos from people such as Chiron, Clarisse, Annabeth and others definitely were fun and added an interesting dimension to the storyline. Riordan also mines some lesser known myths in the Greek works and gives us some exciting battles with old foes that are just as deadly as anything Percy, Grover, and Annabeth faced - and sometimes, much, much worse.

THE LOST HERO ends up rising above and beyond anything I expected from Riordan, and will definitely get readers excited to revisit Camp Half-Blood and its demigods. And now, we only have to wait until Fall of 2011 for the next volume, THE SON OF NEPTUNE.

The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success

The authors tackle a mighty big subject here. But I didn't know how big until I saw at the size of this book. And the thing is, most of the chapter subjects - social networking, blogging, vlogging, microblogging, Search, Gaming, etc - could easily merit several entire books unto themselves.

The authors rely heavily on what are probably recorded statements from industry leaders in the various fields, and verbal transcripts tend to ramble on a bit when committed to paper. The transcripts could have used some heavy editing, which was probably impossible due to bruised corporate egos.

I wouldn't call this book a "bible", mainly because the subject is much too large for any one book to cover in-depth. But this book is the best attempt yet to cover the scope of the rapidly growing and evolving social media phenomenon. And as someone in the search marketing field, the book really opened my eyes to exactly how big the Social Media field really is, and for that, I give the book 5 stars.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My new Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 12.1 Camera

I pre-ordered this Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 12.1 camera, so I paid full price. I see that it has now dropped to $379 or so.
I would rate the camera a great value at list price, so it is a super-great value at the price you can now get it for!

I just spent two weeks in Portugal and Spain. I took hundreds of pictures -- inside cathedrals, outside of scenics and old castles, night shots, portraits, high dynamic range bracket shots, etc etc. This camera allowed me to get the best pictures I've ever taken, and I've been using SLR's since I got a Pentax Spotmatic in the 70s. The touch-screen interface, coupled with the easy-to-use and well thought out physical buttons, made adapting to the situation (for instance, underexposing a bit to get the proper mood in a cathedral's sanctuary)a breeze.

It reacts very quickly, so I didn't miss any opportunity shots. The image quality (I shoot RAW) is superb. If left on P mode or IA mode, the decisions it makes almost always result in the shot I want, and if I want to tweak it a bit (as mentioned above), it's quick and easy to do.

Both the LCD and the viewfinder are extremely bright. I typically use the viewfinder (old habit, maybe) and use the LCD for its touch screen capabilities, either to quickly change settings or to touch where I want the focus point to be. That "focus and shoot" option on the LCD is a hoot!

Highly recommended.

(For what it's worth, I also have a Lumix DMC-LX5, which is a great "little brother" companion to this camera. It also took terrific shots on our trip.)

Discover how to create Flash Lite mobile apps from the ground up

Adobe Flash is an ideal choice for developing rich interactive content for "Flash-enabled" mobile devices; and with this book, you'll learn how to create unique applications with Flash Lite. Through a series of code samples and extensive example applications, you'll explore the core concepts, key features, and best practices of the Flash Lite player. Coverage reveals various ways to develop Flash mobile content, create applications with a cross-platform programming framework based on the Model, View and Controller concept, and use a number of open web and device manufacturer service APIs.
Professional Flash Lite Mobile Development:
  • Looks at Adobe Flash Professional and Adobe Device Central, the essential tools used in developing and testing Flash mobile device content
  • Explores object-oriented programming as well as the PureMVC framework
  • Shares techniques for extending the capabilities of mobile devices
  • Provides detailed insight into using audio, video, and images in applications
  • Introduces ways to extend Flash mobile apps beyond the features of the Flash Lite Player
  • Walks you through packaging and distributing complete Flash Lite mobile apps to different mobile platforms
Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

You're Better Than Your Job Search

Since I found an excellent opportunity within a day of finishing the book, I can only admit that it was helpful... or maybe it's magical? The section on interviewing with a panel was actually a big help. Having read that section to prep for an interview in which I was expecting two interviewers, I still had all the tools I needed when I was seated in front of a panel of four.

Much of the information presented here is available via The Ladders, but still very handy to have it in book form, and the book is well-conceived and designed to be a handy reference. I've been reading posts from Marc Cenedella for years, and recommend his book for its same very positive tone.

Friends and family aside, it's nice to have someone rooting for you!
Great book, get one here

Monday, October 11, 2010

Our Kind of Traitor

John le Carre is one of those authors that everybody tells me I should read, and whom I really want to read. But his towering body of work is... a little intimidating.

So I decided to start with "Our Kind of Traitor," his latest thriller. And it's a solid place to start -- new characters that don't require previous books to understand, heart-pounding suspense, and a genteel British gloss. It's an intelligent and gripping story, but at times le Carre seems to just lose his enthusiasm..

Young Oxford don Perry and his lawyer girlfriend Gail are on vacation in Antigua when they encounter Dima, a Russian millionaire with a large, grim family, a hearty love of the English, and a lavish hand with money. It turns out that he's a professional money-launderer in trouble with a mobster called The Prince. He's willing to spill everything he knows, as long as he and his family are kept safe.

Enter Hector Meredith, an aging spy who runs his own little sub-agency, and who is Dima's best chance of not getting killed. But Perry and Gail "have wandered by sheer accident into a richly planted minefield," and under Hector's guidance they soon find themselves whisked on an international adventure...

"Our Kind of Traitor" is a brilliant novel that's been hobbled. The first few chapters are mostly told in flashback, which saps some of the tension from the story. And the last few chapters feel as if John le Carre got tired of the story he was telling, so he slapped together an ending and pasted it on the end.

So as you can guess, the best part is the middle. Le Carre's prose is smooth, genteel and distinctly British, but fractured with some gritty looks at the underbelly of civilization. The cynicism is heaped high everywhere, whether it's contemptuous looks at the British government, the corrupt banking world, or the bleak, cutthroat world of Russian mobsters.

And le Carre does a pretty good job with the characters, who all feel realistic, flawed and sympathetic. Perry and Gail are a pampered, slightly self-righteous British couple who end up waaaaayyyyy in over their heads. Hector is a tweedy, outspoken old spy, while Dima is a sort of Russian Tony Soprano, whose genial exterior hides his fear and rage.

"Our Kind of Traitor" is a smooth, rich thriller with its ankles shackled -- great writing, rich characters, but it suffers from a limp beginning and a slapdash ending.

JBuds J3 Micro Atomic In-Ear Earphones with Travel Case

I've had a pair of JLabs J3 earbuds for about ten months, and they are beginning to develop a loose connection near the base of the plug - which completely spoils the sound. In my experience this is a common stress point, and resulting weak spot for many earbuds, but ten months is a little premature for such an issue to arise on a set that lists for $80.

I'm not an "audiophile", but I know the difference between honest, full bodied sound reproduction, and the opposite. I'm satisfied with the performance of these buds, so I'll be buying them again, especially at the bargain price of $15, but I would suggest that JLabs attempt to reinforce this area.

I know that they value customer input, so I trust they will address this.

Other than that you should honestly get one.

150 Programming Interview Questions and Solutions

Getting into one of the top companies in the software industry, is not normally an easy task. There are certain things they're looking for and if you don't know what they are and how to prepare, you'll most likely get the dreaded "Thank You" email or phone call.

This book will prepare you for what to expect from companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Apple. Then it will give you the tools to solve the problems that they will throw at you during an interview. Follow the instructions, and you'll have a chance to stay in the hunt. Try to memorize answers and you'll be eaten alive.

Get a whiteboard, practice the problems without looking at the answers until you're done. Don't use your IDE to help you and learn to think through problems without knowing the answer in advance.

This book helped me get into my latest company.

Good luck!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama's Attack on Our Borders, Economy, and Security

I must read for anyone who loves America. Savage details how both parties have left the average Americans' interests behind a long time ago. He provides a detailed plan for fixing our great nation, instead of just ranting on its problems. This book is enlightening, educational, inspirational and entertaining. It will give you hope that "We the People" can fix what's wrong with our country and return to the principles that made us great in the first place.

Read it and pass it on.

Hamilton to Leave McLaren?

#F1 Lewis Hamilton has hinted that despite winning races and raking up points for the team, he'd like to move on to another team. Hamilton, has lost 50 potential points in the last couple of races, leaving him trailing behind in third on the driver's table. His problems were made even more difficult when he crashed just a few laps into the FP1 on Friday afternoon in Suzuka which meant that he missed most of the FP2 (Free Practice 2) until the last 10 minutes.

To further complicate things, there's another report that he will start his race by taking a five-placed gird penalty at Suzuka, once the starting order for the race has been decided. The reason for the drop in grip position is still not clear at the moment, but if the rumours are true, this could be one of the most difficult times for the British driver.

Drivers are allowed to change their gearboxes every four races without a penalty. Hamilton last changed his gearbox at Spa. McLaren are still deciding whether or not to run their new rear wing tomorrow.

Friday, October 08, 2010

PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition)

I come from a programming background and am not a professional web designer. However, some years ago I brought up a website written in Javascript and JSP running against an Oracle DB for an organization I worked at. I then dropped the programming end of things and just made minor changes to the website until recently when I was forced to redo the website in PHP and MySql, both of which I knew nothing about.

So I bought this book together with the PHP Cookbook published by O'reilly. My foremost question was: "how can I learn this stuff with minimal brain damage without going through 1000 pages?". This book did the trick to introduce me to PHP & MySql in a couple of days. The chapters on designing major applications such as building a shopping cart quickly showed me how to put the various code pieces together into a coherent whole.

However, when the rubber hit the road I ran into several problems. The major obstacle was in divining the pros and cons of using the Procedural vs Object Oriented paradigms. In many of the book's examples, both paradigms are used which was very confusing and caused me headaches getting my code to work. Once I told myself to settle on just the OO approach and ignore the Procedural approach things got much better, since I stopped confusing the two sets of syntax.

I initially downgraded my rating 1 star because of this most irritating and time consuming confusion. The sections on security I found most helpful. As a book to orient a person to PHP and MySql I give it 5 stars. As a future reference, I also give it five (5) stars. As a book to learn the nits and grits, I give it 3 stars......hence my overall rating of 4 stars. If I knew then what I know now, I'd still buy the book. I'm also writing a review of the PHP Cookbook.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

Sam Harris' latest book The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values hits on some themes familiar to readers of End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. But pulling together the best from a wide variety of fields, Sam Harris is really carving a path for himself unlike the other three of the four horsemen (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens).

The Moral Landscape asks interesting questions, and uses savvy "intuition pumps" (to use a phrase of Daniel Dennett, who is cited in several parts of this book) to challenge even those whose mind is made up.

Harris' neuroscience background allows him to explore themes that most philosophers can't touch -- like what belief really is.

I am already looking forward to where Harris goes next from here, and this is hardly the end of the ride through The Moral Landscape

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Office politics - don't let it get into you

There are a few things you learn when you work with people of varied level of maturity and experience. This unfortunately is common in just about any industry - especially in the software industry.

Today, one of the guys in my department placed in an order for 4 new books on the companies book budget. If you remember I wrote about how I spend some time on a book I bought and had to share my acquired knowledge with the team. Well, this guy thought he would go one better and ordered four and a Sennheiser headphone just to allow him to zone out while coding.

Ok, I know he's entitled to place an order for something that he thinks will benefit the company, but I don't see how a Sennheiser Headphone will benefit anyone other than himself. Come to think of it, there are even cheaper ones out there, so why spend that huge amount on headphones.

What really made my day was to later hear that although the book will be bought, headphones as well as other gadgets are not something the company would like to spend its money on. Meaning that eventually, he would either stay without one and put up other people's noise or spend his own money on one.

It will be nice to see the look on his face tomorrow.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Awesome 3D-Capable HDTVs

Looking for HDTVs to watch 3D? You're in the right place.

To watch a program in 3D, you will need to buy one of these 3D-capable display. There’s no way around it. These displays usually have a higher processing power than older models as they need to display one image for each eye to create a 3D effect. HDTV manufacturers say that older models will not be capable of displaying 3D technology because of the specs needed to create a 3D effect. You will need to buy a 3D-capable HDTV to get 3D at home.

All 3D-capable HDTVs released in 2010 and onwards will feature active technology, requiring you to wear active shutter glasses to watch 3D on your HDTV.
Amazon currently sell both 3D HDTVs and 3D-ready HDTVs. What's the difference?

3D HDTVs are capable of displaying 3D out of the box. With a 3D-ready HDTV, you will need to buy an add-on to get your HDTV to display 3D. In the case of the Mitsubishi 3D-ready HDTVs, you will need to buy this 3D starter pack to get your 3D going. Without this pack, your HDTV will display great 2D pictures, but you will not be able to watch anything in 3D.

Amazon will add more items as our selection grows. We also invite you to check out our 3D help guide and our 3D buying

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation

The 2008 US presidential election was memorable and historic in many respects - the amount of campaign money that had been spent, the total number of votes cast, but most importantly because for the first time a man of African descent, Barack Obama, had been elected to the presidency. No matter where you stand politically, there was something poignant about that fact. However, what bothers many people is that for a substantial portion of the electorate Obama's race was the only criterion upon which they based their vote.

This allowed perhaps the least qualified person ever to become the most powerful person in the World, another historic event. The question, then, becomes why were so many people, especially the young ones, so willing to leave aside all semblances of critical thinking and in droves follow this grossly underqualified politician? They acted as if they had been stripped of all vestiges of individuality and rationality, in other words - they acted like zombies.

In this scathing and devilishly funny book Jason Mattera accounts some of the worst excesses that Obama zombies had indulged in before and during the election. He is especially critical of the way that the media had handled candidate and then president Obama, lionizing him beyond anything that should be acceptable in decent society. The MTV generation was all too willing to take in all this drivel and follow their messianic candidate wherever he chose to lead them.

The book is written in a very accessible and entertaining style designed to appeal to the young, but some of its main messages are actually very serious: failure of the young electorate to appreciate the implications of their zombie-like behavior has dire consequences for the entire political process.

There should be more Jason Matteras around to alert us to all of this.
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